D.C. United (3-13-3, 12 points, 8th place in East) vs. FC Dallas (7-2-9, 30 points, 3rd place in West), at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Dallas lead the all-time regular-season series with a 15-13-6 record
8 pm ET; Comcast SportsNet, FSSW Plus (local), MLS Direct Kick, MatchDay Live
Two of this season’s slow starters meet at RFK having moved along diametrically different paths since their previous meeting, a 1-0 Dallas home win in early May.
Both teams stumbled out of the gate with long winless streaks this spring, but FCD righted the ship, climbed the standings and look like a sure playoff contender with 30 points. United have scarcely lifted their heads out of the MLS basement in the three months since that loss.
Can anyone find the net for the Black-and-Red?
United have scored twice in their last seven games and interim coach Ben Olsen desperately needs someone to step up. Striker Chris Pontius is a doubt for Saturday due to hamstring tightness, which may hand an opportunity to Danny Allsopp, Jaime Moreno or, if he’s back to full fitness after his recent surgery, Adam Cristman.
“You’ve got to remember why you play the game,” said veteran goalkeeper Troy Perkins this week, urging his downtrodden side to return to the basics. "It is a game – granted, it’s our job and it’s our livelihood, but we play the game because love it and we enjoy it. So you have to get back to that. It can’t get any worse.”
Unbeaten in nine games, the Hoops are doggedly stalking the Western Conference leaders and should view a trip to the league’s bottom side as three points for the taking, even with imposing center back Ugo Ihemelu likely to miss out with a head injury.
Coach Schellas Hyndman has built a steady defensive corps that has yet to allow more than two goals in a match this season – with the exception of April’s 4-2 US Open Cup qualifying loss to United, that is.
Heroes & Villains
Jeff Cunningham vs. Jaime Moreno -- The league’s all-time goal wizards are perched side by side at the top of the MLS career scoring chart with 132 and 127 tallies, respectively. Cunningham is gaining ground quickly as Moreno’s strike rate has slowed this season, but the Bolivian remains United’s classiest finisher and Olsen may turn to his old friend to help end the team’s scoring drought.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm..."
May 20 was the last time FC Dallas tasted defeat.